Written by Achiever Foods Nutrition Unit
In 2020, we had a call from one client who lives at Gbawe in Accra placing order for our Daliha Turkey Berry Powder. Her doctor at the Trust Hospital in Osu recommended our product for her child whose heamoglobin was low. After adding the powder to the child’s food for two months consistently, she called our office to testify with joy about how her child’s health has improved significantly. We give glory to God for using Daliha solutions to improve health.
The fist 2 years of life are critical and needs more attention and care as a lot of development goes on during this period. Also, children under 5 years are prone to sickness, if not cared for properly. Research has shown how important it is to feed infants appropriately. Infant feeding practices contribute greatly to the welfare of children. If done appropriately, it improves the health of the child. Most mortality cases of children under 5 years is associated with conditions resulting from poor infant feeding practices. This situation can be improved when mother’s and families receive the necessary knowledge and support to initiate and sustain healthy infant via practicing appropriate feeding practices. Mothers and families can always contact their doctor or Health care professionals in this field for thorough education and guidance as to how infant feeding should be done.
📍 How Important is Appropriate Infant Nutrition?
Below are some reasons why appropriate Infant Nutrition is important:
- For Healthy Growth of Infant: Feeding is a major factor in the growth of children. More importantly, good nutrition which helps to ensure growth, good health and overall development of children. This can also be linked with long term impairment in growth and development of an individual (a child) when not done properly.
- Reducing Risk for Some Childhood Illnesses: Poor nutrition can result in illnesses and even death of children in worse cases. It can result in childhood obesity as well, which is becoming a health concern in some countries.
- Stunted Growth: Poor nutrition during the first 2 years of life can result in stunted growth which can have long term effects such as the adult being shorter than his or her potential height.
- Impaired Intellectual Ability: Studies have shown that adults who were malnourished in early childhood are seen to have impaired intellectual performance, as compared to properly nourished children, and may also have reduced capacity for physical work. Women who were also malnourished as children may also be affected along the lines of reproduction.
- National Development: The development of a nation suffers when many of her children are not properly nourished as this has a long term nutritional deficit effects on the adults these children would develop into.
📍 Why Babies Needs Certain Foods
Babies essentially need breast milk and are gradually weaned as they grow and the demand for food increases. Complementary foods for babies are advised after 6 months of exclusive breast feeding.
Exclusive breastfeeding means that an infant receives only breast milk from his or her mother or expressed breast milk, and no other liquids or solids. Even water is not permitted but there’s an exception of oral rehydration solution, drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, minerals supplements or medicines, example: vitamin A. Complementary feeding on the other hand is defined as the process starting when breast milk is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, and therefore other foods and liquids are needed, along with breast milk to meet the energy needs of the infant and enhance growth, health and development.
WHO and UNICEF has global recommendations for infant and young child feeding practices. These are practical guides to achieving a healthy and appropriate feeding of the infant, and should be encouraged and adhered to. Also, studies have shown that the effectiveness of interventions, achievement of universal coverage of optimal breastfeeding (involves, initiating breastfeeding one hour after childbirth, giving colostrum, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and giving complementary foods when it is due) could prevent 13% of deaths that occur in children less than 5 years of age worldwide. Appropriate complementary feeding practices would result in an additional 6% reduction in the death of children less that 5 years. (9WHO. Evidence on the long-term effects of breast-feeding: systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2007.)
When it comes to breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is advised. It plays a vital role in the early life stages of a child, some of which are reducing the risk of diarrhoea and respiratory illness. It meets the nutritional and and energy needs of a child when done properly. As mentioned earlier, water should not be given when breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months (180 days). Breastmilk has enough water to satisfy baby’s thirst. No other foods are necessary during the 6 months. Health care professionals are well abreast with how to breastfeed, care and handle baby feed, always consult your health care giver whenever you need clarity on how to handle baby feed. Ideally, breastfeeding should continue till up to 2 years of age. Breast feed on demand, day and night. (https://www.unicef.org/ghana/infant-and-young-child-nutrition)
From 6 months, complementary foods can be added to a baby’s diet, as they required more energy and nutrient than what breastmilk can provide. This stage is also very important as it can impede or improve the growth and health of the baby depending on what baby is being fed with. But even at this stage, breast milk should not be taken out of the child’s diet. The period of complementary feeding starts from 6 months to 23 months and beyond.
In giving complementary foods, start with small amounts of food and gradually increase the quantity as the child gets older, also vary the food while maintaining frequent breastfeeding. Keep foods clean and at required temperatures, use safe water and cooking materials and cook thoroughly.
Foods that can be added as complementary foods include: Starches and grains, high iron foods and fiber foods like Daliha Turkey Berry Powder, foods rich in vitamins and minerals and water. More on this would be mentioned in the next sub heading.
📍 DO’S AND DON’TS IN INFANT FEEDING
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing and feeding infant.
• Wash your hands and baby’s hand before eating
• Breastfeed before giving other foods.
• Feed baby using cleaned hands, clean utensils, cup and food
• Use Clean cups and spoon to give food or liquids to your baby.
• Don’t use bottles, teats and spotted cups since they are difficult to clean and can make baby sick
• Store foods given to babies in a safe clean place and at the right temperatures
• Continue breastfeeding when baby is due complementary foods
• Be patient with baby and encourage baby to feed
• Start with staple foods like porridge (from corn, wheat, millet, rice, sorghum, potatoes) mashed banana, mashed potatoes etc.
• Try to feed variety of food at each meal to achieve a four (4) star diet. Food groups that constitute 4 star diets for infants include : Animal Source foods (meat, eggs, diary products, fish, etc) , Staples (grains, roots and tubers), legumes and seeds (beans, groundnuts etc), Vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables and other fruits and vegetables (colourful fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, high iron sourced foods examples: mango, pawpaw, alefu, gboma, Nkontomire, turkey berry, carrots, yellow sweet potato, pumpkin, and also, pineapple, watermelon, pear, avocado, banana, tomatoes, garden eggs, etc)
📍 Bottom Line
Infant nutrition can have serious implications on the health, growth an development of child when not done properly. Ask the right persons ( health professionals, dieticians) if you need any information concerning how and what to feed your infant or young child. If you need any Daliha Product, kindly click on the link below www.achieverfoods/shop to place your order and it will be delivered to you at your door. Call or Whatsapp 0200877339 and we will attend to you.